Bibi Ka Maqbara in Aurangabad is not to be missed

 

The Taj of the Deccan, mini Taj, poor man’s Taj Mahal – the beautiful Bibi Ka Maqbara in Aurangabad has many names.  When I saw the monument for the first time one year ago, I was strapped for time – after visiting the astounding Ellora caves I had only several hours in the city before catching a train back to Mumbai. The silhouette of the opulent monument was rapidly fading away in the dusk, leaving me with a strong feeling of wanting to see more. Although the structure bears an undeniable resemblance to the Taj Mahal, which I’ve seen in the very beginning of my Indian Odyssey, it definitely has a character of its own.

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During my second visit to Aurangabad I made sure to give the monument its due by exploring it thoroughly and savouring slowly.

Bibi Ka Maqbara quick facts

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The 6th Mughal emperor Aurangzeb authorized the construction of the monument in honour of his 1st wife Rabia-ud-Daurani. The structure was designed by Ata-ullah, who drew inspiration from his talented father – the chief designer of theTaj Mahal.

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It took only one year to build Bibi Ka Maqbara – from 1660 to 1661, whereas the construction of the Taj Mahal took the time span of 20 years of continuous work.

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Auragzeb granted only 700 thousand rupees for the construction of the mausoleum, which is approximately one eightieth the price his father Shah Jahan spent to build the Taj Mahal. Apparently Aurangzeb had a contempt for his father’s luxurious lifestyle and uncontrollable spending, so he wouldn’t deplete the royal treasury for the sake of a tomb, even if it’s the most beautiful one in the world.

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Bibi Ka Baqbara, which stands for “Tomb of the Lady” in English, is the only  monument Aurangzeb raised during 49 years of his reign, except for the tiny but charming Moti Masjid (Pearl Mosque) inside the Red Fort complex in Delhi.

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Like the majority of tombs in India, the monument is constructed on a square platform with minarets on each corner. Unlike the Taj, Bibi Ka Maqbara in Aurangabad wasn’t entirely built of marble. Neither it was constructed of red sandstone, like the earlier Mughal buildings. The lower portion of the mausoleum’s walls and the central dome was made of marble, whereas for the other parts of the structure they used basaltic trap. The edifice is adorned with elaborate stucco designs.

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Traditionally, the complex is laid out on the middle of a formal garden

The photos of Bibi Ka Maqbara in Aurangabad

My first visit to the monument was disappointing not only because  of lack of time, but also because the battery of my camera was drained after hundreds of pictures I took in the Ellora caves. That Instagram photo you see in  the beginning of this post was one of the few I managed to click. Upon revisiting the mausoleum, I managed to  make it up for my lack of vision, and at this very moment I’m controlling myself not to post all the pictures straight off 🙂

Bibi Ka Maqbara in Aurangabad

Roses of the Bibi Ka Maqbara garden

You may have noticed that I have a soft spot for roses, that’s why there was no chance these beauties from the Bibi Ka Maqbara garden would go unnoticed. In spite of being impatient to have a closer look at the monument, I stopped near the flower beds to “smell the roses” 🙂

BIbi Ka Magbara in Aurangabad

The entrance to the complex

BIbi Ka Magbara in Aurangabad

Exquisite floral and geometric design

BIbi Ka Magbara in Aurangabad

The first glimpse of the monument

Bibi Ka Magbara in Aurangabad

Bibi Ka Maqbara in all its glory

Bibi Ka Magbara in Aurangabad

An ancient doot leading to the garden – so inviting! But I didn’t let myself get distracted and kept walking straight to the mausoleum 🙂

Bibi Ka Magbara in Aurangabad

Magnificent and dignified

Bibi Ka Magbara in Aurangabad

One more ancient door… and yeas, #ihavethatthingwithdoor 🙂 Do check out this hashtag on Instagram

Bibi Ka Maqbara in Aurangabad

Compelling metal work from the era bygone

Bibi Ka Maqbara in Aurangabad

One of the minarets. Unfortunately, none of the four minarets are accessible for the visitors

Bibi Ka Maqbara in Aurangabad

Beautiful stucco decorations all over the place

Bibi Ka Maqbara in Aurangabad

Intricate floral designs

Bibi Ka Maqbara in Aurangabad

The octagonal tomb enclosure is surrounded by the marble screens

Bibi Ka Maqbara in Aurangabad

Bibi Ka Maqbara in Aurangabad

Marble for the structure was brought from the mines close to Jaipur

Bibi Ka Maqbara in Aurangabad

The garden

Bibi Ka Maqbara in Aurangabad

At the back of the mausoleum

Bibi Ka Maqbara in Aurangabad

Melting away in the dusk

Bibi Ka Maqbara in Aurangabad

IT was particularly enjoyable to walk in the remote corner of the garden along the ancient wall

Bibi Ka Maqbara in Aurangabad

One last glance back

Bibi Ka Maqbara travel tips

  1. The monument is open every day from 8.00 am to 6.00 pm.
  2. The ticket price is Rs 15 for Indian visitors and Rs 200 for foreign nationals.
  3. Photography is free of charge.
  4. Bibi Ka Maqbara address – Begumpura, Aurangabad, Maharashtra 431004. It’s 7 km from the Aurangabad railway station and is easily reachable by auto-rickshaw.

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17 thoughts on “Bibi Ka Maqbara in Aurangabad is not to be missed

    • Hope you’ll include it into your itinerary when in India, Kevin. The place is magical, and I spent a wonderful afternoon exploring the mausoleum and the surrounding gardens.

  1. It is interesting to know about and see the Taj of the Deccan, mini Taj, poor man’s Taj Mahal – the beautiful Bibi Ka Maqbara in Aurangabad. There is quite a bit of Architectural detail – amazing that it was finished in just 1 one year in the 1600s. An interesting fact that It took only one year to build Bibi Ka Maqbara mausoleum vs. 20 years to build the Taj Mahal. I love that it is surrounded by gardens. Gardens always attract us. And …Oh my, the price is quite a bit more for foreigners!! Why more than 10 times the price? That is discouraging.

    • Yes, Wendy, I was very puzzled by different prices for Indians and foreigners at first. It’s hard to explain the reasons behind such policy. On the brighter side, Rs 200 is not that much – slightly over $3.

  2. It’s wonderful to see an alternative to the Taj Mahal, which we all hear so much about. Thanks for showing us this and certainly whetting my appetite to know more.

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